In Spite of the Odds

*Shared Story

**’Dedicated to all the courageous Dad’s and families in the world.’

Early in 2003 Fred Evans fell and broke his hip. Not unusual for a man of 88. However, it was the events over the next few weeks that showed the world what this man was made of.

The next day he had an operation which turned out to be a total hip replacement.

Within a few days he was sent to a Rehabilitation Hospital, with all the usual hopes for a complete recovery for a man of his age and situation: ‘absolutely none,’ said the medical experts and nursing staff!

Funny about that, absolutely no hope at all.

My first conversation with Dad was a few days after his admittance to the Rehab Hospital in Sydney.

‘A bit of pain Son,’ he tells me … ‘but I’ll be okay.’

‘See all of these other old blokes in here, most of them have been in here for between 3 and 6 months, with no hope of ever going home.’

‘”No way will I end up like them!’

‘I will go home to your Mom within the next few weeks!’

Because of the distance between Newcastle and his Rehab Hospital, I didn’t get to see him every day, but phoned regularly. I got to see him each weekend.

On my next visit I stopped at reception on the way to his ward. The duty nurse gave me a ‘rave review’ of his progress, saying that they didn’t believe what they were seeing. ‘Your Father is a walking miracle,’ I was told.

As I approached Dad’s bed I saw him getting something from the other side of his bed as he was swinging himself into a position to get up and spend some time with me. Walking sticks.

‘Thanks for coming in to see me Son, it’s good to see you, come for a slow walk with me,’ he said.

He proudly assured me that he was okay to do it on his own, but it would be nice if I were right there next to him as we ‘walked.’ Sure enough, he had been so determined to get home to his wife of 62 years, he had been training hard every day!

So we went for a stroll around the corridors of his prison, and was he proud of his ability to conquer the odds? You bet he was!

Only 3 weeks after being admitted to that ‘depressing place,’ he walked out without any assistance from anyone. Just as I had been told – a walking miracle.

He only had one motive, but a very powerful one. To get home to his beautiful wife of 62 years, my Mom Margaret … he missed her. His determination, courage, and incredible love and devotion towards my Mother (after all that time together) was an inspiration to me that can’t be overstated. I thank him for that!

Fred Evans was a gentle caring man, with the courage and inner strength of a lion, and the heart of a Saint.

I had only recently grown to appreciate that I was so lucky to have such a mentor, and to realize that I was absolutely blessed to have had that experience. It wasn’t too late though. I got to tell him how much he meant to me, and to thank him for being who he was, and to share some amazing moments with him towards the end of his humble, quietly-lived life.

Over the next few months his fate occurred- common medical complications took him from us, but he left us all with memories of what it’s like to spend some time with someone special. Thanks Dad.

May this inspire you to overcome some form of adversity in your own life by showing some courage – despite the odds.

Credit: Philip E.
This is a true story. Thanks Philip for sharing.

Rev 3:2 “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

 

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Knowing Right From Wrong

*This is a tad long but a great shared story. Enjoy!

I was the youngest of three boys. We lived in a four-room house with our parents. Dad liked to say we had four rooms and a “path,” referring to the well-worn trail to our outhouse. There was no hot-running water. We heated water on an oil stove, which doubled as our heating source in the winter. We washed our hair in the kitchen sink and took baths in our rooms, using a cloth and a bucket of hot water.

I guess you could say we were poor. Dad had a job, but he spent all extra money on alcohol. There were many nights when I would be roused from sleep by loud voices. I would lie still and listen, instantly aware it was Thursday night, and like every Thursday, Dad had come home drunk.

Thursday was payday for my father. After work, he and his co-workers would go to the tavern and drink. It was the start of four days of hell. On Friday he would go to work hung over and return in the evening drunk again. For the rest of the weekend he would be drinking with his buddies. I remember a time, when he came home so drunk, when he got out of the car, he lost his balance, and staggered 20 feet, to smash his head into the front porch. Yes, he was that drunk, and he drove.

He was nasty when he drank, not violent, just mean. He would yell at us for the smallest infractions. Even though we tried not to disturb him, he would lash out with complaints about our behavior. There was no pleasing the man. Four days of the week we cowered from him.

I know more about him now, and can even understand his bitterness toward the world. He was born out of wedlock, and spent many years in a Catholic orphanage. I don’t even want to think about the abuse he may have received there.

As the school week wound down, my stress increased, knowing the weekend, the drinking and the arguing were coming. How my mother tolerated him, is a mystery. I believe she had no where to go, where she would be able to support three boys on her own. She stayed for us. My biggest fear: she would give up, walk out, and leave us with our father.

I was sitting in my classroom one morning. I believe I was in first grade. From my seat, I could look out the large windows, and see my house and the store across the street from it. At that time we had a small bus service. It came once a day, stopped at the store, and took people to the city. On this morning, I saw a lady with a red jacket getting on the bus. My mom had a red jacket! I began to cry in front of my classmates. Mom was leaving.

The teacher calmed me, by saying my mom would not leave without telling us she was going. I wasn’t convinced. When we were released for lunch, I ran home to find my mother making my lunch. I was so relieved; I ran up, clutched her around the waist and began to cry again.

Dad went by the rule “children should be seen and not heard.” If he was home, we were not to make a sound or he’d punish us. This is not necessarily a bad rule, but when he was drinking, he was overly sensitive.

Mom would do everything for my Dad. She made his lunches, cleaned, cooked, and took care of us. Dad did very little. He worked and in the evening he sat. I would grow frustrated, when I needed his help, because I knew he would grumble. He would come home from work, expect his dinner waiting, and complain about the lunch made for him that day.

I was afraid to ask him for anything. The chain on my bike was loose and would fall off the sprocket. It took me forever to figure out how to tighten it myself, but I did it. I learned to manage on my own.

My brothers grew older, got their driver’s license, and were blamed for every mark, dent, or scratch on the car. Later, I got my license, and refused to drive Dad’s car. I was not going to be blamed for anything that happened. I walked or biked, and gave Dad no excuse to yell at me.

Christmas was always bad. Dad would be drunk on Christmas day and have no patience for small boys enjoying their new toys. There would be more fighting than laughter from my parents. When my brothers and I were older and slept late on Christmas morning, Dad would come to our room, drunk as usual, and wake us, expecting us to get up and open our gifts. We would tell him to go sleep it off. Perhaps he wanted to make up for the times he lost when we were smaller.

One night, when I was a teen, he was sitting at the kitchen table drunk. He seemed very depressed. I figured it best I went to bed. As I lay trying to sleep, I heard the distinct sound of his shotgun being loaded. I snuck from my room and saw him going out the door with his gun. I reached him, I grabbed the barrel, ‘Dad, no! Let me have the gun. Go to bed.’

Luckily, he did as he was told.

I learned a lot of things from my Dad: how not to treat a wife, to make my own lunch, help with cooking and cleaning, and give my children love. He didn’t do it by example; he did it by making me aware of what is wrong. His drinking caused a lot trouble, but all three of his boys came out of it better people.

Dad passed away in the early ‘90’s. Mom, a strong and beautiful woman, was freed from his abuse. My brothers and I all said, ‘Now mom can be free to enjoy her life.’

I don’t hate my Dad. He was my Dad; he gave me life. I can’t hate him for that. However, I am disappointed he never experienced the good things a family can provide.

PANCAKES

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Six year old Brandon decided one Saturday morning to fix his parents pancakes. He found a big bowl and spoon, pulled a chair to the counter, opened the cupboard and pulled out the heavy flour canister, spilling it on the floor. He scooped some of the flour into the bowl with his hands, mixed in most of a cup of milk and added some sugar, leaving a floury trail on the floor which by now had a few tracks left by his kitten.

Brandon was covered with flour and getting frustrated. He wanted this to be something very good for Mom and Dad, but it was getting very bad. He didn’t know what to do next, whether to put it all into the oven or on the stove, (and he didn’t know how the stove worked!).

Suddenly he saw his kitten licking from the bowl of mix and reached to push her away, knocking the egg carton to the floor. Frantically he tried to clean up this monumental mess but slipped on the eggs, getting his pajamas white and sticky. And just then he saw Dad standing at the door.

Big crocodile tears welled up in Brandon’s eyes. All he’d wanted to do was something good, but he’d made a terrible mess. He was sure a scolding was coming, maybe even a spanking. But his father just watched him. Then, walking through the mess, he picked up his crying son, hugged him and loved him, getting his own pajamas white and sticky in the process.

That’s how God deals with us. We try to do something good in life, but it turns into a mess. Our marriage gets all sticky or we insult a friend or we can’t stand our job or our health goes sour. Sometimes we just stand there in tears because we can’t think of anything else to do. That’s when God picks us up and loves us and forgives us, even though some of our mess gets all over Him. But just because we might mess up, we can’t stop trying to “make pancakes,” for God or for others. Sooner or later we’ll get it right, and then they’ll be glad we tried…

Credit: Author unknown

Just Try to do What God Would Do (Retitled)

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I am a normal 15 year old sophomore in high school that loves to play volleyball and be with her three best friends. About 6 months ago I thought that my life would change forever. And here is my story….. “- Kristen

‘My parents have always had their fights and arguments, whether it was mild or major, they always got over it. My parents also were going through a lot due to a huge lawsuit in which we are still involved in today.

Anyway, both my parents and us kids were tired of all the bickering, so they decided to be separated for a while with the chance they might get back together. So, my dad moved out and my mom was constantly depressed.

The whole separation was hard, but it was not that hard. She was always onto us kids, so one day I finally asked her what the deal was. She asked me if I really wanted to know and at that time, I didn’t realize it, but the way I would forever look at my dad would totally change.

She told me that the real reason that they split up was that my dad had cheated on her for like 2 years. I was devastated. I didn’t know whether to be sad, or to punch a hole through the wall. So I called up my dad and let him have it for about an hour. Then I refused to speak to him for about 3 months.

As of right now, we are finally on speaking terms, but things will never be the same as they were before. But, I learned that some things you just have to let God handle, and that would be more punishment than anything I could ever give.

So if you are in the same predicament that I was in, just try to do what God would do and things will work out for the best.’

Written by Kristen D., Age 15 — Texas

*Thanks Kristen for sharing; keep the faith!

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A FATHER’S HAND

*this is sort of a long read, but if you read it through, I believe it will bless you. Enjoy!

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A Mother’s Story:

My son Gilbert was eight years old and had been in Cub Scouts only a short time. During one of his meetings he was handed a sheet of paper, a block of wood and four tires and told to return home and give all to “dad.”

That was not an easy task for Gilbert to do. Dad was not receptive to doing things with his son. But Gilbert tried. Dad read the paper and scoffed at the idea of making a pine wood derby car with his young, eager son.

The block of wood remained untouched as the weeks passed. Finally, mom stepped in to see if I could figure this all out. The project began. Having no carpentry skills, I decided it would be best if I simply read the directions and let Gilbert do the work. And he did. I read aloud the measurements, the rules of what we could do and what we couldn’t do.

Within days his block of wood was turning into a pine wood derby car. A little lopsided, but looking great (at least through the eyes of mom). Gilbert had not seen any of the other kids cars and was feeling pretty proud of his “Blue Lightning,” the pride that comes with knowing you did something on your own.

Then the big night came. With his blue pine wood derby in his hand and pride in his heart we headed to the big race. Once there my little one’s pride turned to humility. Gilbert’s car was obviously the only car made entirely on his own. All the other cars were a father-son partnership, with cool paint jobs and sleek body styles made for speed.

A few of the boys giggled as they looked at Gilbert’s, lopsided, wobbly, unattractive vehicle. To add to the humility, Gilbert was the only boy without a man at his side. A couple of the boys who were from single parent homes at least had an uncle or grandfather by their side, Gilbert had “mom.”

As the race began it was done in elimination fashion. You kept racing as long as you were the winner. One by one the cars raced down the finely sanded ramp. Finally it was between Gilbert and the sleekest, fastest looking car there. As the last race was about to begin, my wide eyed, shy, eight year old ask if they could stop the race for a minute, because he wanted to pray. The race stopped.

Gilbert hit his knees clutching his funny looking block of wood between his hands. With a wrinkled brow he set to converse with his Father. He prayed in earnest for a very long minute and a half. Then he stood, smile on his face and announced, ‘Okay, I am ready.”

As the crowd cheered, a boy named Tommy stood with his father as their car sped down the ramp. Gilbert stood with his Father within his heart and watched his block of wood wobble down the ramp with surprisingly great speed and rushed over the finish line a fraction of a second before Tommy’s car.

Gilbert leaped into the air with a loud “Thank you” as the crowd roared in approval. The Scout Master came up to Gilbert with microphone in hand and asked the obvious question, “So you prayed to win, huh, Gilbert?” To which my young son answered, “Oh, no sir. That wouldn’t be fair to ask God to help you beat someone else. I just asked Him to make it so I don’t cry when if I lose.”

Children seem to have a wisdom far beyond many. Gilbert didn’t ask God to win the race, he didn’t ask God to fix the out come. Gilbert asked God to give him strength in the outcome. When Gilbert first saw the other cars he didn’t cry out to God, “No fair, they had a fathers help.” No, he went to his Father for strength.

Perhaps we spend too much of our prayer time asking God to rig the race, to make us number one, or too much time asking God to remove us from the struggle, when we should be seeking God’s strength to get through the struggle. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” -Philippians 4:13.

Gilbert’s simple prayer spoke volumes to those present that night. He never doubted that God would indeed answer his request. He didn’t pray to win, thus hurt someone else, he prayed that God supply the grace to lose (if he did) with dignity. Gilbert, by his stopping the race to speak to his Father also showed the crowd that he wasn’t there without a “Dad,” but His Father was most definitely there with him. Yes, Gilbert walked away a winner that night, with his Father at his side.
Prov 16:20 “He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he. ”

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Thanks, Dad, for showing me…

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One day, a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”

“It was great, Dad.”

“Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.

“Oh yeah,” said the son.

“So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.

The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden, and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden, and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard, and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on, and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us; they have friends to protect them.”

The boy’s father was speechless.

Then his son added, “Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are.”

 
Jas 2:5 “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? “

Grandpa

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A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year old grandson. The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table. However, the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.

“We must do something about Grandfather,” said the son. ” I’ve had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.” Therefore, the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. When the family glanced in Grandfather’s direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. The four-year-old watched it all in silence.

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One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, “What are you making?” Just as sweetly, the boy responded, “Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in, when I grow up.” The four-year-old smiled and went back to work. The parents were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

That evening, the husband took Grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days, he ate every meal with the family. Moreover, for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth became soiled.

Children are remarkably perceptive. Their eyes observe, ears listen, and minds process the messages they absorb. If they see us patiently provide a happy home atmosphere for family members, they will imitate that attitude for the rest of their lives.

The wise parent realizes that every day the building blocks are being laid for the child’s future. Therefore, let’s be wise builders and role models!

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*Foot Notes: 1. Don’t let the state, schools or other people with questionable character raise your children; you never know what you might get back.

2. They say, “Children are the future” But how will you fit in with their’s?

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Prov 17:6 “Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.”
Prov 23:22 “Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.”
Prov 20:11 “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.”
Prov 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Prov 22:15 “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”

Prov 23:13 “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. ”